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Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?

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avatar Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 21, 2011 10:29AM
Has anyone been to Cathedral Lakes yet this year? I'd like to go but I'd also like to know what to expect before I make a trip. I don't care to hike in snow. I use the climber's trail to the lower lake since it's so much shorter. I'd also like to avoid clouds of blood thirsty mosquitos. smiling smiley I'm thinking about going to peak 10,450 or to the Medlicott Lakes at the end of the month or early August.

Thanks!



Panoramic Images - http://panoramas.aa6g.org/



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/21/2011 10:30AM by Calaveras.
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 21, 2011 12:03PM
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 21, 2011 02:23PM
I'm glad there's people like you who like hiking in snow so that people like me who don't like snow will stay away until it's gone. smiling smiley Snow is not very conducive for panoramic photography anyway. Not much scenery, just white.
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 21, 2011 11:33PM
Quote
Calaveras

Snow is not very conducive for panoramic photography anyway. Not much scenery, just white.

Oh, I couldn't disagree more. Snow is wonderful to photograph, even in a panoramic. Sure, it can make it a whole lot harder because the possible high contrast and extreme dynamic range of the light. But when pulled off correctly, the results can be marvelous.

Many of my favorite shots of Yosemite is when the landscape is blanketed with snow.

smiling smiley
Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 23, 2011 06:03PM
Both agree and disagree. A minor amount of summer snow in mountain landscapes makes peaks look more impressive. Summer snow images where most of a frame is snow tend to be difficult except early and late in the day because as soon as the sun rises much in altitude, landscapes become rather contrasty. Additionally most snow landscapes tend to only have a few hues, white to shaded gray snow, blue sky, white to brown to dark rock and earth, dark green conifers. It is true there are quite alot of photographers who seem to revel in heading out into summer snowscapes and some of their imagery is rather nice. I just rarely see anything exceptional although one is sure to read comments by like others that seem to think what they see is something special. When one is talking beautiful snow landscapes I'm pretty much of the same aesthetic orientation as Chick-On's below post. For this old alpine skier, powderhound, bc skier, and summer backpacker, winter landscapes with fresh new cold smoke powder smoothly flowing over a landscape, prismic snow crystals glistening everywhere, encasing conifers, tend have considerably more potential than old summer melting snow landscapes. And the winter sun tends to stay low in altitude more hours during the day make shooting practical. My suspicion is most of such people that are enthusiastic about summer snow landscape are not winter sports enthusiasts so any snow at all is novel. Four large format images in my below Gallery B of Yosemite Valley icons show why I prefer winter snow:

http://www.davidsenesac.com/Gallery_B/gallery_b.html



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 07/23/2011 06:12PM by DavidSenesac.
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 23, 2011 10:30PM
I wasn't comparing the snow in summer or spring landscapes versus the snow in winter landscapes, but just commenting on his blanket statement that snow is not very conducive for panoramic photography.

And I did mention that snow in landscape can present special challenges because of the possible high contrast of a scene with snow (especially if there are deep shadows also in the frame of the shot).
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 24, 2011 08:24AM
Quote
plawrence
I wasn't comparing the snow in summer or spring landscapes versus the snow in winter landscapes, but just commenting on his blanket statement that snow is not very conducive for panoramic photography..

Okay, I guess I need to use "IMO" more here. winking smiley I don't find snow pictures very interesting. They all look pretty much the same to me. When I do a panoramic I like to see more variation in the color of the landscape, and the contrast between the sky, the mountains, the water, the land, and the vegetation. It's also nice when the granite has different colors. IMO, snow pictures might be better in B&W since there's so little color in them anyway.

I live at an elevation where it snows a few times a year and there's nothing about it I like. It creates a wet mess that doesn't dry up until it melts and runs off. Now I see it's exactly the same issue in the high Sierra. IMO, until all the snow melts, it's just a wet mess that I prefer to avoid.



Panoramic Images - http://panoramas.aa6g.org/
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 24, 2011 09:37AM
Quote
Calaveras

When I do a panoramic I like to see more variation in the color of the landscape, and the contrast between the sky, the mountains, the water, the land, and the vegetation.

If that's the case, if you haven't done so already, I would recommend that you plan a visit (preferably in the fall or winter -- when the temps are more reasonable) to Death Valley. Death Valley has all of the above (and very little snow -- even in the heart of winter). smiling smiley
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 22, 2011 06:56AM
Yeah, I completely disagree. I find the winter shots far prettier.

You can prolly find 100s of snow shots in my crap.

But here is one I really like:





Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 23, 2011 09:22AM
Quote
chick-on
Yeah, I completely disagree. I find the winter shots far prettier.

You can prolly find 100s of snow shots in my crap.

But here is one I really like:


Pristine beauty.
Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 23, 2011 08:12PM
Quote
chick-on
Yeah, I completely disagree. I find the winter shots far prettier.

You can prolly find 100s of snow shots in my crap.

But here is one I really like:



Should be a postcard. Very nice!
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
August 08, 2011 05:28PM
Here's a comparison:







Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 21, 2011 01:20PM
Quote
Calaveras
I'd also like to avoid clouds of blood thirsty mosquitos. smiling smiley

Thanks!

Wear a hazmat suit, and pray for high winds.

Seriously, they can be awfully bad. It's just that time of year. The only cure may be to pick up camp and move to a higher or drier location.
Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 21, 2011 01:33PM
I was in the area last weekend... there was snow on the trail from where it crosses Cathedral Creek (before the switchbacks and spring) until past the turnoff for the lower lake. A few day-hikers lost the trail when we were there, but if you're familiar with the area, there shouldn't be any navigational issues. Things were then clear until near the top of the pass. In general, I would expect any shaded, north-facing area to still have intermittent snow patches of up to 2' deep, but any south-facing or open areas will be mostly snow free, at least up to 10,000' or so. Mosquitoes were a non-issue, but it was cool and breezy.
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 21, 2011 02:03PM
Thanks! Sounds like waiting a couple more weeks is the thing to do..... much less snow I expect. Maybe the weather will start acting like summer by then. I've been watching the Sentinel Dome cam. I figure the time to go is when I can see no snow in that direction.



Panoramic Images - http://panoramas.aa6g.org/
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 22, 2011 12:04AM
Here's a shot of Lower Cathedral Lake from across the street last weekend:



Might give you an idea of snow coverage. Mosquitoes were not a problem.
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 22, 2011 06:59AM
As usual.... great stuff. (why you making me go looking for it all the time?)

(perhops put a link to http://www.qitnl.com/ as your signature)
(unless, of course, you really don't want people to see your stuff)



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 22, 2011 07:45AM
Thanks for the post. That's still a bit more snow than I want to see but by the end of the month I would think it will mostly be gone.



Panoramic Images - http://panoramas.aa6g.org/
Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 22, 2011 10:42AM
Quote
Calaveras
Has anyone been to Cathedral Lakes yet this year? I'd like to go but I'd also like to know what to expect before I make a trip. I don't care to hike in snow. I use the climber's trail to the lower lake since it's so much shorter. I'd also like to avoid clouds of blood thirsty mosquitos. smiling smiley I'm thinking about going to peak 10,450 or to the Medlicott Lakes at the end of the month or early August.

Thanks!

It might be fine now, but back, oh, about 2000 or so I hiked there for an evening constitutional with my father and I can honestly say it's the only place I've ever left because of the mosquitoes.

It was like something from a bad comic book; swarms so think the far side of the lake was obscured at times. EVERYWHERE.

We had wondered why we'd seen so many people hurrying back down the trail past us on our ascent. Then we found out.

We stayed, literally, less than 30 seconds.
Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 22, 2011 09:21PM
Went up there this past Monday late afternoon for sunset shots. Wasn't too hard to follow the footsteps through what snow is left. However, having never been there, we never did reach either lake. I never saw a junction, we were just dumped out onto the meadow underneath Cathedral Peak. Managed to get to the west end of the meadow, and I could see the lower lake, but there was a 6 foot wide stream between me and the rocks that line the lake. We stayed past sunset, then got slightly lost coming back, thank god for trac back on my GPS. Got lost after crossing whatever stream required usage of a log, not far from the meadow, not sure of the name. Went off trail for 20 mins or so, using the last bit of light trying to find it before activating the trac back, and finding out we were about 150 yards too far west.Lord knows how we got that far off track. Got back to the CG about 11.
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 22, 2011 11:18PM
How were the mosquitos to and from the meadow near Cathedral Peak?
Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 23, 2011 07:40AM
Quote
plawrence
How were the mosquitos to and from the meadow near Cathedral Peak?
Since we started the hike about 4:30 pm, we wore long pants. We were fine, had our head nets, but didn't use them. They really weren't that bad at all, much worse in the campground.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/23/2011 07:41AM by hotrod4x5.
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 23, 2011 08:28AM
If you missed the junction there must still be quite a bit of snow. The junction has a sign showing 0.5 miles to the lower lake. As I remember the trail heads uphill to the upper lake and downhill to the lower lake from there.

So you got across the meadow and right up to the rocks but couldn't leap the water just before the rocks? That happened to us last October after that early rain except we were on the rock bank side of the water. We had gone a couple of times earlier and the meadow was dry but that one rain filled it up. There's another path just a bit south through the meadow that doesn't have any wide water to cross. I think you can go to the very south end and walk around the entire meadow.

In order to get to the meadow you had to cross Cathedral Creek somewhere. I guess that wasn't a problem.

Good news on the mosquitos. I hope they're done for this year and not still yet to emerge.
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 23, 2011 09:52AM
Quote
Calaveras

Good news on the mosquitos. I hope they're done for this year and not still yet to emerge.

I wouldn't count on that. Still far too much water, especially standing water, in and around the mountains for the mosquito problem to have abated. Since this area had been still snow covered at a later date than other areas of the park, my guess is that mosquitos have yet to emerge in full force around Cathedral Lakes.
Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 23, 2011 07:37PM
Quote
Calaveras
If you missed the junction there must still be quite a bit of snow. The junction has a sign showing 0.5 miles to the lower lake. As I remember the trail heads uphill to the upper lake and downhill to the lower lake from there.

So you got across the meadow and right up to the rocks but couldn't leap the water just before the rocks? That happened to us last October after that early rain except we were on the rock bank side of the water. We had gone a couple of times earlier and the meadow was dry but that one rain filled it up. There's another path just a bit south through the meadow that doesn't have any wide water to cross. I think you can go to the very south end and walk around the entire meadow.

In order to get to the meadow you had to cross Cathedral Creek somewhere. I guess that wasn't a problem.

Good news on the mosquitos. I hope they're done for this year and not still yet to emerge.
Thanks for the directions for next time. Let me clarify, there are mosquitos everywhere. But I don't specifically remember them on that trail. One evening we sat in the middle of Tuolumne Meadows and watched the sunset on Lembert Dome. We had to wear our head nets and spray the rest of our bodies with bug spray (picaridin, my GF is against Deet).

So be ready for them, with head nets and spray. Incidentally, the headnets I got at REI are also for sale in the TM store, for the same price, I was really surprised about that. They work well.
Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 23, 2011 08:00PM
This was the condition of the trail looking up south-bound as I neared the lakes access trail:



http://www.flickr.com/photos/anvanho/5968964050/

oh, that was one week ago ... on the 16th of July.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/23/2011 08:02PM by Anvanho.
Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 23, 2011 08:05PM
Quote
Anvanho
This was the condition of the trail looking up south-bound as I neared the lakes access trail:



http://www.flickr.com/photos/anvanho/5968964050/

oh, that was one week ago ... on the 16th of July.
On our way up, I mentioned to someone coming down that I hoped to reach upper lake. He said there was a LOT of snow up there. We never made it. Didn't even try really, as we reached the meadow about 20 minutes before sunset. This was on the 18th.
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 24, 2011 08:27AM
Wow! Not what I'm looking for. Maybe mid August for it to be gone? It's going to be a short season up there this year. Thanks for posting the image.



Panoramic Images - http://panoramas.aa6g.org/
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 24, 2011 08:18PM
The only snow between the Tioga Road and Upper Cathedral Lake now (today, 7/24) is in patches, w/ easy to see footsteps across it. I saw one point where uphill hikers were getting confused, but their confusion seemed to be following tracks of prior switchback shortcutters. There's a bit of snow between Upper Cathedral and the Pass, but its pretty obvious where to go (disclaimer: I only hiked down this trail, not up). The meadow at Upper Cathedral looks very wet. Mosquitoes are definitely coming out, breezes are a very good thing.

EDIT: On my way down I passed a ranger w/ backpack hiking up, he was gathering conditions information.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/24/2011 08:21PM by ttilley.
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 25, 2011 09:54AM
Thanks for the update. We're thinking of giving it a try this weekend but we'll take the climbers trail to the lower lake instead of the regular trail. It's only 1.2 miles.
Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
July 25, 2011 11:15AM
We were also up at Cathedral last weekend. We camped at Lower Cathedral on Sunday the 17th. Had no trouble following the trail up to either lake and we had never been there before. Getting across the meadow at the lower lake without walking in waist-deep water was a bit tricky, but we would have walked through the water if needed. We had a windy night on the 17th so no mosquitoes at all. The morning of the 18th we hiked up to upper cathedral. There was more snow on the trail (maybe 30-40% of it was snow-covered?) but had no trouble finding our way there either. We didn't go over to the upper lake because the meadow looked really wet. We got off trail a little shy of Cathedral Pass (I think we jumped the gun in ascending) but easily re-found the JMT in the pass again. Don't know the conditions of the climbers trail, but I'd say go for it.
Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
August 09, 2011 02:10PM
Any recent updates? Plan on hiking to lower Cathedral Lake next week & especially interested in current water conditions for crossing the marsh.
Thanks!
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
August 09, 2011 02:34PM
Here's what it looked like when I went up on July 30th:

http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,43263

I'm planning to go up next week also and I hope the snow has mostly melted and that the mosquitoes are mostly gone. You can avoid the meadow by simply walking around it on the south end. We had to cross a few small creeklets from snow melt but no big deal.
Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
August 14, 2011 10:30AM
I went to upper Cathedral Lakes and had no snow issues at all. There were still some mosquitoes. Mostly in the morning and evening.
Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
August 14, 2011 04:56PM
Quote
traildad
I went to upper Cathedral Lakes and had no snow issues at all. There were still some mosquitoes. Mostly in the morning and evening.
Yesterday? Or when?
Re: Cathedral Lakes: Hiking Conditions?
August 14, 2011 05:31PM
I hiked from the Cathedral Lakes trail head on Sunday the 7th. Camped at upper Cathedral lake Sunday eve. Then over to Sunrise HSC. The next night I stayed at about 9300 ft on my way up to Clouds Rest. Then down to Sunrise Creek before making a day hike to Half Dome. I saw no snow that you couldn't just walk around.
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